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Puerto Rican recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross

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Puerto Rican recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross

Puerto Rican recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

Puerto Ricans have served as members of the United States Armed Forces and have fought in every major conflict in which the United States has been involved from World War I onward. Many Puerto Ricans, including those of Puerto Rican descent, have distinguished themselves during combat as members of the five branches of the U.S. Military, the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard.

Nine Puerto Ricans have been awarded the United States' highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor, seven have been awarded the Navy Cross and eighteen have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[1]

The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest military decoration of the United States Army, awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions which merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree to be above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations but not meeting the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The following is a list of the fifteen Puerto Ricans awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with their citations.

On March 18, 2014, President Barack Obama upgraded the Distinguished Service Cross' of Juan E. Negrón, Demensio Rivera, Miguel Vera and Félix M Conde Falcón to the Medal of Honor in a ceremony held in the White House.[2]

World War II

Private First Class Luis F. Castro born in Orocovis, Puerto Rico was assigned to 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division in the U.S. Army. PFC. Castro's platoon was about to be overrun by enemy German forces, when he decided to stay in the rear flank and cover his men's retreat by providing firepower killing 15 of the enemy in the process.[3]

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:


Private Anibal Irizarry born in Puerto Rico, was assigned to Co. L, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Regiment. Private Irizarry single-handedly destroyed two enemy machine gun nests and captured eight enemy soldiers.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: Private Anibal Irizarry was seriously wounded after he destroyed the second machine gun nest and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.[7]


Private First Class Joseph (José) R. Martínez born in George S. Patton, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican recipient of said military decoration.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript PFC Martinez was the first Puerto Rican to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[9]

Korean War

Staff Sgt. Modesto Cartagena (July 21, 1921 – March 2, 2010), born 1920 in Cayey, Puerto Rico, was the most decorated Puerto Rican soldier in history. Cartagena was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division in the U.S. Army.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: Cartagena's family, upon learning of Modesto's actions, have taken it upon themselves to make a request to Congress, that he be awarded the Medal of Honor.[11]


Private Badel Hernández Guzmán, from Humacao, Puerto Rico, was assigned to Company I, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division in the U.S. Army. Private Hernández Guzmán singlehanded destroyed an enemy strongpoint with a flame thrower.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: Private Hernández Guzmán was also awarded the Silver Star for his actions.[13]


1st. Lieutenant Elmy L. Matta* (May 26, 1921 – August 3, 1950) was a member of the 8th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry), 1st CAV DIV. Lieutenant Matta was killed while personally leading an assault of his company against the enemy in the face of intense small arms and automatic weapons fire.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: 1st. Lieutenant Elmy L. Matta was buried with full military honors in the Puerto Rico National Cemetery located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico


Master Sergeant Juan E. Negrón From Corozal, Puerto Rico was assigned to the 65th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division which was also known as the Borinqueneers. Master Sergeant Negron halted an enemy attack by accurately hurled hand grenades at short range.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: His DSC Medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014.


Corporal Fabian Nieves Laguer was a member of Company C, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Corporal Nieves Laguer made three separate trips across a fire swept terrain to carry the stricken soldiers to safety. He was then was able to furnish effective fire support to cover the withdrawal and subsequent reorganization of his unit.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:


Master Sergeant Belisario Noriega served with the 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. He led his men through the hostile ranks of the enemy to the safety of the main line of resistance.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: Master Sergeant Belisario Noriega died July 21, 1972 and was buried with full military honors in the Puerto Rico National Cemetery located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico


Private First Class Demensio Rivera* was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico he was still a child when his parents moved to New York City where he was raised. Rivera was a member of Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. With his automatic rifle, he delivered a continuous and devastating fire at the approaching enemy until this weapon became inoperative, whereupon he employed his pistol and grenades and stopped the enemy within a few feet of his position.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: His DSC Medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014.


Corporal Frank Carpa Rocha* (died August 10, 1951) was a heavy machine-gunner with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. He provided supporting fire which enabled his unit to withdraw. He was attempting to reload his weapon when he was hit by a burst of enemy machine-gun fire and mortally wounded.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:


Private Miguel A. Vera* (died September 21, 1952) was a member of Company F, 2d Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division. He lost his life while he provided firing power to cover the withdrawal of his comrades

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: His DSC Medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014.

Vietnam War

Staff Sergeant Félix M Conde Falcón*(February 24, 1938 – April 4, 1969) was born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, and raised in Chicago, Ill. He joined the U.S. Army in April 1963 and was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam a member of the 3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Conde Falcón was killed in action while serving as a platoon leader during a sweep operation in the vicinity of Ap Tan Hoa, Vietnam, after destroying multiple enemy bunkers and demonstrating extraordinary leadership under fire.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: His DSC Medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014.


Staff Sergeant Efraín Figueroa-Meléndez (died March 5, 1969) was born in Cataño, Puerto Rico. He was a member of Company D, 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. On three occasions Staff Sergeant Figueroa-Meléndez purposely drew communist volleys on himself to permit his men to draw back to protected positions.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Postscript: Staff Sergeant Efraín Figueroa-Meléndez was buried with full military honors in the Puerto Rico National Cemetery located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.[22]


Spc4 Fruto James Oquendo* (died May 6, 1969) of Puerto Rican descent, was born in New York City. Oquendo was a member of the U.S. Army and in Vietnam served with Company C, 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. He was mortally wounded while defending his area during a hand-to-hand struggle.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:


Sergeant First Class Wilfredo Pagan-Lozada* (died February 9, 1967) born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Pagan-Lozada was a member of the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam with Company D, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. At the cost of his life, Sgt. Pagan-Lozada, charged into a through a hail of bullets to save an officers life.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:


First Sergeant Ramiro Ramirez was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. First Sergeant Ramirez despite being wounded pulled one of his man to the safety of a bomb crater and refused aid until all others had been treated. Receiving word that another man had been severely wounded, Sergeant Ramirez volunteered to rescue him and was hit in the arm and chest as he left the crater.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:


Private First Class Reinaldo Rodríguez* (died January 15, 1971) was born in Guanica, Puerto Rico. He belonged to Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in the U.S. Army. Private Rodriguez provided cover fire for his comrades maintaining suppressive fire upon the adversary until he was wounded a third time. Although evacuated immediately to the rear medical facilities, Private Rodriguez succumbed to his wounds.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

El Monumento de la Recordación

El Monumento de la Recordación

The names of the Distinguished Service Cross recipients who perished in combat are inscribed in Puerto Rico's "El Monumento de la Recordación" (Monument of Remembrance). The monument is dedicated to the Puerto Ricans (both those who were born in the island and/or those who were born elsewhere, but are of Puerto Rican descent) who have fallen in combat as members of the Armed Forces of the United States. The monument is located in front of the Capitol Building of Puerto Rico in San Juan.


See also

Notes

  • N.B. An asterisk after the name indicates that the award was given posthumously.

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ Puerto Rican Medal of Honor recipients
  2. ^ Obama to award Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans
  3. ^ "El Imparcial" - "Boricua mata 15 Alemanes"; Recobe Alta Condecoracion; November 13, 1945
  4. ^ Castro's DSC Citation
  5. ^ Puerto Rican Soldier; by Sgt. Lou Stoumen; "Yank" magazine; June 23, 1944; pg.9
  6. ^ The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Historical; By Carmen Teresa Whalen and Víctor Vázquez; Pg. 78; Published 2005 by Temple University Press; ISBN 1-59213-413-0
  7. ^ Irizarry's DSC Citation
  8. ^ Martinez's DSC Citation
  9. ^ "El Imparcial" - "Soldado Recibe La Medalla Del Servicio Distinguido"; August 15, 1944
  10. ^ Cartagena's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  11. ^ Cartegna's family's Medal of Honor campaign site
  12. ^ Hernandez Guzman's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  13. ^ "El Mundo" - "General Ridgeway se Impresiono Con Hazana Badel Hernandez"; May 9, 1952
  14. ^ Matta's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  15. ^ Negron's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  16. ^ NIEVES LAGUER's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  17. ^ Noriega's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  18. ^ Rivera's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  19. ^ Rocha's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  20. ^ Vera's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  21. ^ Figueroa-Meléndez's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  22. ^ Puerto Rico National Cemetery
  23. ^ Oquendo's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  24. ^ Pagan-Lozada's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  25. ^ Ramirez's Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  26. ^ Rodriguez's Distinguished Service Cross Citation

Further reading

  • Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor. Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own; by : Greg Boudonck; ISBN 978-1497421837
  • Historia militar de Puerto Rico; by: Hector Andres Negroni; publisher=Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario (1992); ISBN 84-7844-138-7

External links

  • Hometown Heroes from Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Distinguished Service Cross
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